January '23

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8 4 G R A P H I C S P R O • J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M duplicate their skills to ensure each animal was inoculated, branded, and tagged and stayed with the group. It's a ballet of sorts, and it's beautiful to watch a team of riders bobbing and weaving and leading lots of cattle to their destination. And I learned calf fries with scrambled eggs and tortillas are what you get for breakfast. Build a culture not a business Having a great culture is about assembling engaged people who want to come to work and who understand the core mission and values of the organiza- tion. Training is fundamental to creating a culture. Use communication to instill the behavior and expectations you want in your team. Be a mentor to your employ- ees. Your goal is to invest in your staff with your time allocation and let them know what your plans are for the future. We did this with strategic planning each year. It helped each person feel vested in the tra- jectory of the company's goals. Work on banishing negativity. You must address negative elements head on. Your mood and energy level will be key in set- ting the tone of your culture. Poor hiring choices can undermine your team's morale and negative people can undermine man- agers and derail momentum. "Hire slow and fire fast" is sometimes the best pol- icy. Have your core group of leaders be involved with interviewing candidates. We used to call it the "gauntlet." Often, you will be surprised how intuitive your managers are and how they pick up on things you miss during the hiring process. We spend a lot of time at work. Friend- ships emerge with your employees and encouraging social outings as a team helps solidify relationships and your fam- ily-style culture. Having fun promotes healthy interactive exchanges among your team. Always be approachable and encourage humor and a good time in the workplace. No one wants to work in a dreary and boring environment. When I was a kid, we had a campmeet- ing in August each year. ese started during the nineteenth century as reli- gious revival meetings outdoors and were popularized on the southern frontier. I attended Bloys Campmeeting in the Davis mountains near Fort Davis. is multi-denominational worship meeting goes for five days and has met each year since 1890. We looked forward to these times of fel- lowship, Bible study, events, play, prayer, and good food. It was a time to see old friends and make new ones. Make no mis- take, going to a campmeeting is very much a culture and has been an integral part of the spiritual heritage of west Texans for many generations. Each year, we learned and bonded as a group. Lifelong relation- ships were created that endure to this day. We were taught fundamental truths and experienced the importance of faith in everyday life. In many ways, those expe- riences set us on paths that have impacted the way we make decisions, how we treat people, and what we do when no one is looking — a sure sign of character. It helped to mold many of us to be leaders. Most importantly, it taught us that culture is the bond of any successful community. Be proactive and not reactive One of the foremost success factors for my career has been proactiv- ity. Whether it applies to sales, marketing, or any other job function you attack as an owner, this one trait can set you apart and determine your fate. It is easy to sit back and be reactive. Taking things as they come can keep you more than busy each day. at approach can engulf your time. Owning a business takes long hours, dedication, and deliberate effort. We all have 24 hours in a day. How we use those hours and minutes can put us in the win or lose column. As I trained salespeople over the years, I tried to instill proactivity into their work ethic more than anything. It's great if you can provide more value than the customer expects. It has been my observation that being proactive is what will set you apart from your competition. As we tried to build our business, we had constant leads that kept us busy. It easily created 12–14-hour workdays. After some intense planning and identification, 4 3 One of the foremost success factors for my career has been proactivity. Whether it applies to sales, marketing, or any other job function you attack as an owner, this one trait can set you apart and determine your fate. B U S I N E S S S T R A T E G I E S

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